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All News Content

Retirement incentive receives approval

URBANA – Carolyn Wood was one of about a dozen veteran county employees who were moved to applause at Thursday night's meeting of the Champaign County Board.

Just moments earlier, the county board had voted to approve offering early retirement to about 60 eligible county employees in a tense 13-10 vote.

Lawsuit accuses lawyer of stealing from area HMO

URBANA – A veteran Champaign County attorney has been accused in a civil lawsuit of stealing tens of thousands of dollars from an area health maintenance organization.

The seven-count complaint filed Tuesday in Champaign County Circuit Court against Gary L. Sudeth, 56, alleges that as the owner of a collection agency catering to health insurers, he defrauded Urbana-based Health Alliance Medical Plans out of more than $50,000 between July 2000 and February of this year.

Decision on pool designer nears

CHAMPAIGN – One of three design teams will be chosen next month to rebuild Sholem Pool and Waterslide, a 42-year-old complex that has reached the end of its useful life.

The Champaign Park District board will choose from among three design teams that were interviewed earlier this week, a short list narrowed from 14 firms that responded to the district request for qualifications.

Grant coming for King School

SPRINGFIELD – The check has not actually been written, but Gov. Rod Blagojevich has committed to releasing the funds to expand King School in Urbana, a spokesman for the governor confirmed Thursday.

"He did commit to that particular project," said Blagojevich spokesman Tom Schafer. "It did meet the criteria he set up."

Two meth-related bills become law

Police and state's attorneys will soon have some new weapons in the war against the explosive growth of methamphetamine manufacturers in East Central Illinois.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed the two new meth-related bills into law this week.

County Democrats propose reforms

URBANA – Champaign County Board Democrats have proposed five sweeping reforms of county government, including proposals to eliminate three elected offices, do away with the co-administrator system and create an independent election commission that would remove election responsibilities from the county clerk's office.

The proposals were put forward this week at the board's Policy, Personnel and Appointments Committee meeting. They will come up for consideration at the Aug. 19 meeting of the committee.

Parkland rolls out tractors for fair event

CHAMPAIGN – Last year, proud Parkland College diesel power students put the final touches on their revamped red pulling tractor, Extra Credit, just in time for the fair season.

This year, they've added a green tractor they call Teacher's Pet to their power arsenal, and they're encouraging healthy debates about the merits of each.

Congressman plans town meetings

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson, R-Urbana, will be holding a series of town meetings in the 15th District during the August congressional recess.

Congress is scheduled to adjourn Friday.

Blagojevich creates farm advisory council

SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Rod Blagojevich is assembling a team to advise him on farms and farm families and to help the state's agriculture industry remain competitive.

"The well-being of our farmers and rural communities is vitally important to Illinois' economy," Blagojevich said. "Despite urban development, about 80 percent of Illinois' land – or 28 million acres – still is devoted to production agriculture. And our 78,000 farms provide the foundation for a multibillion-dollar industry that employs nearly one of every four Illinois workers."

Residents voice cat complaints

CHAMPAIGN – Jerry Laughlin thinks cats are popular pets for two-income families in his southwest Champaign neighborhood.

He can identify homes where cats live by looking for garage doors that are left just slightly open, a few inches off the ground, allowing cats to leave and enter at will while their owners are away at work.